Martin edges National guests for reverse Knockhill pole

Ross Martin secured a second consecutive Scottish FF1600 pole position in SMRC’s reverse direction meeting, edging out BRSCC National regular Matt Round-Garrido by only two thousandths of a second.

Round-Garrido laid down a marker for the local regulars by holding fastest time for much of the session, starting off with a 53.777s lap before bringing his time down incrementally to a 53.321s.

As Martin ducked out of traffic and looked for space late on in qualifying he turned in a 53.319s lap just before a red flag ended the session prematurely, securing pole by only 0.002s.

The red flag was caused by Jack Wolfenden’s Dolan Engineering-prepared car stopping on the exit of Butcher’s turn, his Firman’s engine billowing smoke. Despite his stoppage Wolfenden’s earlier times were still good enough for seventh on race one’s grid.

National regulars feature heavily in this meeting, arriving early to prepare for their championship round next weekend. After Martin and Round-Garrido the next three rows were all populated by National regulars, as Hugo Bentley-Ellis was third quickest on his Knockhill debut with a 53.540s.

2016’s Scottish FF1600 runner-up Jamie Thorburn was fourth fastest, a 53.637s just enough to eclipse his Cliff Dempsey Racing team-mate Nico Gruber in fifth place. Michael Eastwell will line up sixth for race one, setting a 53.695s, a mere 0.011s slower than Gruber.

Rory Smith lines up behind Wolfenden in eighth, as Sebastian Melrose and Jonathan Browne complete the top ten.

Jordan Gronkowski had spent much of SMRC’s first meeting close to polesitter Martin’s pace, but was almost a second slower in this morning’s qualifying, a 54.249s only good enough for 11th place.

Gary Sykes spun just before Wolfenden’s session-ending incident but still was 12th quickest, ahead of fellow Scottish FF1600 regulars James Clarke, Steven Barlow, Neil Broome and Ross Howe.

At the rear of the field Matt Chisholm was four tenths slower than Howe with a 55.993s, also causing a red flag early in qualifying when he spun exiting Clark’s curve.

Alasdair is Digital Manager for FF1600website and was previously Scottish FF1600 correspondent. When not busy with FF1600, his day job is with Mediatica, a motorsport PR firm.

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